Citing Philippine Statistic Authority data that showed the bulk of the total annual cacao production came from Davao, Senator Cynthia Villar on Thursday sought to declare Davao City as the “Chocolate Capital of the Philippines” and Region XI, Davao, as the “Cacao Capital of the Philippines.”
In her Sponsorship Speech on the proposed Senate Bill 1741, Villar said PSA records indicated that about 78.76 percent of the annual production of cacao in the Philippines came from the Davao region composed of Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao de Oro and Davao Occidental. They are the top five producers.
The head of the Senate committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform also said there were more than 20,000 hectares of cacao farms in Davao, and Davao City, among the five provinces, had the largest area. It is targeting a total of more than 16,703 hectares dedicated for cacao,” Villar said.
Villar’s proposed bill seeks to recognize Davao “as the country’s biggest producer of cacao and its vital contribution in making the Philippines world-renowned and sought after by chocolate makers.”
The bill also hopes to make Davao City and the Davao Region become an inspiration and a benchmark to motivate other Local Government Units to emulate.
According to Villar, her bill simply gives recognition for the pioneering, outstanding collective contribution of the cacao farmers who supply dry cacao beans to the processors and manufacturers.
These cacao farmers, Villar says, have received international acknowledgment as evidenced by the awards they got over the years.
She emphasized that Davao’s Malagos Chocolate is one of the frontline brands of the Philippines in the international market.
Malagos chocolates, Villar says, have made it to the list of the “Best 50 Beans in the World” under the Cocoa Excellence Program in 2017.
To date, she says, Malagos Chocolates have won 28 International awards. The chocolates, which was commercially launched in June 2013 were made from the ethically grown and processed cacao beans that have been carefully graded, fermented and solar-dried in the Puentespina Cacao Farm in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City.
Another multi-awarded brand is Auro Chocolates, which take pride for their bean-to-bar process since they have cacao beans that are fully traceable in planting communities in the Philippines.
Davao’s commitment to quality has earned it 23 international awards including the Top 20 Best Cacao Beans Award—a first for the Philippines—in the International Cocoa Awards.
But amid all the challenges the cocoa sector is facing, particularly the formidable upstream segments of the value chain, Villar said, the Davao City government has allocated financial support to the cacao industry by opening the “Cacao City” at the Pasalubong Center in 2017.